Motorola outlines the process of getting Ice Cream Sandwichfied


As soon as Ice Cream Sandwich was announced, people wanted to know whether or not their devices would be getting it. Manufacturers do their best to let us know which devices will or will not be receiving the latest updates, and Motorola has already given a statement regarding a few of their devices that will be getting Ice Cream Sandwich, but what about time tables? Updates don’t always go out as quick as we would like them to and ICS will be no different. But why do updates take so long? Motorola wants to help us better understand what goes into getting these updates onto their devices and why it’s not as easy as just hitting “update.”

1. Merge and adapt the new release for different device hardware architecture(s) and carrier customizations

This means that we take the source code and incorporate it into upgrades for devices on which this can perform well, along with making sure the carrier requirements are met. Silicon partners such as Qualcomm, TI, and nVidia adapt this to their chipsets in parallel and we incorporate these as they become available. This is also the time when we begin integrating all of the Motorola-specific software enhancements into the source code. Features like MotoCast, Smart Actions, and our comprehensive enterprise solutions are integral parts of our device experiences, and we want to make sure we continue delivering differentiated experiences for our consumers with these software upgrades.

2. Stabilize and ‘bake’ the result to drive out bugs

This means that we will prepare the upgrade to meet the quality and stability requirements to enter the wireless carrier’s certification lab.

3. Submit the upgrade to the carriers for certification

This is the point in the process where the carrier’s lab qualifies and tests the upgrade. Each carrier has different requirements for phases 2 and 3. There may be a two-month preparation cycle to enter a carrier lab cycle of one to three months.

3.5 Perform a Customer pre-release

We may perform some customer testing before a final release is delivered publicly to our user base.

4. Release the upgrade

We are planning on upgrading as many of our phones as possible. The ability to offer the upgrade depends on a number of factors including the hardware/device capabilities, the underlying chipset software support, the ICS support and then the ability to support the Motorola value add software.

While this helps us better understand the process, it’s kind of depressing coming to the realization that ICS may be a ways away. I bet that Verizon Galaxy Nexus is starting to look a lot more appealing to some of you. Well, there’s always the old “root and mod” solution to speed things up. Get cracking Motorola!

Source: Motorola Blog


  1. “Manufacturers do their best to let us know which devices will or will not be receiving the latest updates.. ”
    You think so? No, I don’t believe that. The reason I don’t believe that is that the carriers don’t make any money if we keep one phone and constantly update it, the carriers make money buy selling new phones – this is why phone tech becomes ancient so quickly.

    “But why do updates take so long?”
    Two words.. carrier customizations

    Three things need to happen for a better customer experience:
    1. Carriers need to be taken out of the upgrade cycle
    2. Carriers need to be taken out of the hardware design process
    3. Customers need to be able to buy android handsets directly from Google if they desire

    Customers in the U.S. need to be able to buy a phone and THEN shop around for a carrier.